Thursday, 22 November 2012

Where fiends sleep

I am returning to the works of a great writer, the late Patrick Leigh Fermor and, in particular his book on his monastic experiences, 'A Time to Keep Silence'.

During the course of his practical researches, that is, staying as a guest in various monasteries, he held many conversations with monks.

In the care of one junior fiend

One monk of the German La Grande Trappe monastery gave PLF detailed information regarding the assaults of Satan, especially on those holy monks who, at times, wrestled with demons for forty days and nights barely throwing off attacks on their chastity and belief in the teachings of the Church.

But the cities of the world, the vast concentrations of humanity where all sins are readily available and attractively labelled and packaged.....they are an entirely different matter, barely capable of attracting the Devil's attention for one second.


Because the Devil has won in the cities; it is in the monasteries, convents and presbyteries that the fight rages on.

This chapter from 'A Time to Keep Silence' -

"....They (the Monasteries) became, accordingly, especial targets. Satan issuing orders at night-fall to his foul precurrors, was rumoured to despatch to capital cities only one junior fiend.

This solitary demon, the legend continues, sleeps at his post. There is no work for him; the battle was long ago won.

But, monasteries, those scattered danger points, become the chief objective of nocturnal flight; the sky fills with the beat of sable wings as phalanx after phalanx streams to the attack, and the darkness crepitates with the splintering of a myriad lances against the masonry of asceticism.

Piety has always been singled out for the hardest onslaught of hellish aggression...."

Sadly, Leigh Fermor's experiences were not enough to bring him to the Faith.
That always puzzles me; I know of several good people who hover at the edge of conversion but never actually take the plunge.

Equally, I know of many erstwhile good Catholics who have left the Faith and placed their redemption severely at risk.

This is the month to pray for those who have died and who are possibly languishing in Purgatory, including the great man, Patrick Leigh Fermor.



  1. Thank you for recommending this: I've just bought it and am looking forward to reading it over the next few days!


  2. Lazarus.....I am confident that you will enjoy it. PLF is much underrated as a writer I believe.

  3. PLF's book BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS AND THE WATER,which was the second part of his travels to Constantinople in the earyl to mid 30's ,was an eye opener onto the Catholicism of Austro-Hungary.
    His friends along the way were mainly Catholic -including a minor branch of the Hapsburgs- and this book opens with his attending Midnight Mass for Easter Sunday in a hungarian city.
    Yes may he rest in peace. And my parents too are resting in Christ

  4. Gervase, thank you for your comment. I am sure I must have read Between the Mountains and the Water butI shall certainly re-read it again thanks to your comment. God bless.